Once is not enough

Each year, I try and return to the province where I grew up.  My family still lives there so I always have a reason to go.  Home cooked meals and fresh baked bread are always plenty and my family and I always have a good laugh session, or two.  My most recent trip provided me with a much deeper appreciation for my home province. 

I recently said to someone, "You have to leave in order to appreciate what you have" or in my case had.  As young kids, we don't understand sometimes the most valuable things are not actually material things, they are places.  From my most recent trip home this really stood out in my mind.  I'm not sure it's just a sign of getting older or if it's just understanding what my own values are.  Either which way, I've come to appreciate home for what it offers. 

Today Point, NL

Today Point, NL

Every year that I've returned home there has always been one place that i've photographed. Flatrock, NL, is a little community outside of St. John's nestled in a cove filled by water from the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by rugged costal cliffs. I skipped this regular spot and opted for more exploring.  Most of us hate change, we become fixated on what we love and desire and any type of change gives us uncertainty, but change is good. Change gives us the ability to challenge ourselves, overcome fears and learn more about ourselves.  
Change for me was finding new surroundings to explore and to expand my thought process around my photography.  With todays' technology, (Google) we have everything at our finger tips and it provides us with information and insight. It does the work for us, except actually being somewhere in the flesh. 

Fujifilm X-T2, Torbay Point, NL

Fujifilm X-T2, Torbay Point, NL

I wanted to find a new location to hike and explore so I searched Newfoundland hiking trails and found an endless amount of options.  I decided on a portion of the East Coast Trail, in Torbay, NL.  I decided to hike Torbay Point, which is a .5 km trail with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and a coastline sunset which I was hoping would to give me the most dynamic lighting conditions with strong deep yellows and dark contrast shadows hitting the rugged coastline and waters. 

Arriving at the end of Torbay Point I was met with exactly what I wanted to find.  No wind, a slight fog over the Atlantic Ocean and those deep yellows from the evening sun. When I arrive at the point, I said to myself...  "are you kidding me, Unbelievable!". It was the same feeling you had as a kid on Christmas morning and you saw the tree with the gifts underneath it. You don't know where to begin and you want so much to open all the gifts and not want it to end.  Photographing a new location is like that for me.  I get beside myself on the inside and want that sunlight to last as long as it can so I can capture all the places  around it.  

Having found a new location to photograph like Torbay, opens up more adventures for when I return home again.  Newfoundland and Labrador has so much to offer from a photography aspect and it has a lasting impression that sticks with you, rain or shine.   

Below are some of the photos along that evening hike.  I was so impressed, I returned the next day.  Sometimes once is just not enough. 

IMG_20180822_193242.jpg
Taken with the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum 

Taken with the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum 

Newfoundland 2018 (1 of 1)-3.jpg
Taken with the Fujfilm X-T2. Second trip to Torbay. 

Taken with the Fujfilm X-T2. Second trip to Torbay. 

From pyramids to back alley markets

230 am!  Alarm sounds, a quick shower,  grab my bags and out the door to catch the bus to the airport.  Things here in the middle east are much different from what i'm accustom to back home in Canada.  The processing of simple things that come without any question back home are often met with some sort of resistance or questions here. 

Cairo 2017 (1 of 10).jpg

Ticket in hand it’s boarding time for Cairo.  Now, I will say, the processing of airport security here in Egypt is one of those things you question yourself. You enter the airport going through a metal detector, removing all shoes, belts, watches and emptying pockets...confused as we always are, I do the mental check and pat down to see is anything remains before walking through. In total theres usually 2-3 different types of security one must go through in order to even get to their gate.  Security is no joke people!

Shuttled to my flight via bus, I arrive and walk up the ramp and met with a lovely Egyptian smile.  Seated and ready for departure whilst struggling to stay awake we're wheels up and headed to Cairo. 

Cairo 2017 (2 of 10).jpg

40 minutes later we’ve landed and all bags are accounted for and its off to the hotel.  After some wait time i'm handed my room key and I proceed to the unknown that awaits. Yes, the Hotel room...everyones worst fear, what will the conditions be?  I open the door and a hellish heat omits from the opening, panic sets in and I quickly look for the AC.  The decision of a quick nap is ruined by a text message that say’s "we're at the pool, and there's a cold beer waiting for you." Trunks on, sandals on and it's a pool time cool down. 

640 am, and Cairo is covered in FOG.  Heading to the Pyramids you get a glimpse of what conditions are like and you begin to witness things you only read about...no pun intended.  Small children walking through garbage filled landscapes and endless amounts of wild cats and dogs walking through streets of vehicle chaos.  Finally I arrive at the base of The Great Pyramids of Egypt and it’s a wonder to my eyes.  Off the bus grab your luggage, and yes, another security check.  

Cairo 2017 (4 of 10).jpg

Finally i'm standing before it, eyes paralyzed by the 4600 years old massive structure, and I begin to wonder how on earth was it created.  Children distract you by requesting their photo. I'm not sure the reason behind this.  Maybe they're looking for interaction or following in footsteps of older locals who try and swindle you for any spare change you may have.  

Cairo 2017 (7 of 10).jpg

Off to the Market.  Fujifilm X-T2 in hand and the 35mm f/2, this was going to be fun.  I've been through these types of market before while in Libya but this was what I was looking forward to.  Barter is the game, but i'm there to take photos.  Of course with everything theres a price, except a smile.  I found most people I asked were willing to strike a pose.  My trip ended there a few hour later.  An eye opening experience for sure.  

Cairo 2017 (6 of 10).jpg

I leave you with this.  No matter how bad things are, there’s that unknown person living in some other part of this spinning globe we call earth who would gladly accept your conditions for one day and feel what its like to live without worry! 

All photos taken with the Fujifilm X-T2 

Cairo 2017 (8 of 10).jpg
Cairo 2017 (5 of 10).jpg

It's Not All About Photography

My plan to return home was spontaneous. Rarely do I look for seat sales, but one evening, I hit the jackpot – $286 round trip to St. John’s, NL from Halifax…SOLD!  I called my sister to let her know I was coming home and that it was going to be a surprise for my parents.

Shocked may be the best way to describe their reaction when they walked around the corner of my sister’s kitchen and saw me sitting at the table.  From Dad’s “oh my goodness” and Mom’s puzzled, confused look, it was safe to say I had successfully surprised them both.

Friday morning I awoke to fresh bread my Mom had baked, which was toasted with butter as well as a fresh cup of coffee. My first stop that morning was The Battery. Walking around in that part of town gave me a sense of community, with all the tight walkways and homes nestled amongst the cliffs. After taking some photos and admiring the scenery, I reached out to Iceberg Quest Tours, owned and operated by Carol Anne & BarryThis is where the fun and adventure began…

Iceberg off the cost of Newfoundland

Iceberg off the cost of Newfoundland

From the moment you meet Carol Anne Hayes you’re given that Newfoundland heartwarming smile that is so genuine. She has an incredible love for Newfoundland and the people who live here and those that visit. Her thoughtfulness and generosity is second to none and leaves a lasting impression. 

Barry Rogers (The Captain) can be a little intimidating at first with his rugged look and hidden eyes behind mirrored sunglasses, although it didn’t take long before his real character appeared. He is a humble man that appreciates life and everything it has to offer. I could feel Barry’s love for the sea while we were bobbing around outside the St. John’s harbour in a Zodiac. His exact words were, “I could stay out here all day”. Barry’s vast knowledge, experience and love for the sea made me buzz with excitement and anticipation for our iceberg adventure. 

Captain Barry Rogers

Captain Barry Rogers

With my camera bag at the bow and wrapped up in a bright orange floater suit, all three of us headed out for what was to be the most incredible adventure I’ve ever been a part of.  Both Carol Anne and Barry were just as excited as I was despite their countless trips to see these amazing icebergs. Rough waters knocked our boat from side to side, but with Barry’s experienced hands at the wheel, we arrived at a 10,000 year old iceberg that had made its journey to Newfoundland waters.

I became mesmerized by the size and beauty of the iceberg. Then a subtle headshake begins and I think: “Is this real?”. The next wave hits the side of the boat almost immediately and I snap back to reality. With my Fujifilm X-T2 in hand and equipped with the newly purchased battery grip, I began to shoot repeatedly without worrying if I had enough battery to get me through the trip.   

Foggy dark skies and choppy waters was the backdrop for this 400,000 lb iceberg as it floated 100 feet away from our boat. Waves were crashing against the side of this enormous sculpture that once sat in the arctic some 10,000 years ago. And here I was photographing its last days before it melted into the sea. We made multiple round trips to get every possible angle. My lens of choice was the Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS. Because of the size of the iceberg, I wanted a wide lens that would provide me with enough coverage to catch the waves and sky that wrapped around this massive chunk of ice.

Newfoundland, Canada

Newfoundland, Canada

After an hour of shooting, we headed towards the port. Luckily enough the winds had dropped and waves had somewhat calmed for our trip back. I was so grateful for the experience and generosity that Carol Anne and Barry had given me. When the trip ended we stepped inside the little boat shack and had a great conversation for over two hours. With this lovely couple, I felt at home. The conversation was the kind that made me feel like I’d made new lifelong friends.

Rob Canning & Captain Barry Rogers

Rob Canning & Captain Barry Rogers

Vdub Willie

There are a select few who know who VDub_Willie is.  He's the traveling VolksWagen Bettle that travels around with me wherever I go.  Here's how the adventure all began. 

April of 2016, while in Lunenburg, NS, I was passing by a local shop and saw some model cars in the store window.  I've always had a liking for model cars.  Now remember, I also love photography but have never mixed the two together until I walked into that store. 

I opened the door and to my left was an elderly man behind the counter with model cars displayed everywhere.  Of course, greetings where exchanged. "Is there anything I can help you with" he said.  "No, just looking" I replied.  Until I looked down from the counter and saw this unique yellow VW Beetle. "That's it, that's what I've been looking for." i said.  

VDub_Willie at Blomindon Look Off, Nova Scotia

VDub_Willie at Blomindon Look Off, Nova Scotia

For a few years I've looked for a retro style VW model car to try and take photos with.  It wasn't something I was hunting for, more so if I find something I like i'll buy it and give it a shot.  It wasn't until that day that I found "The" VW model car I've been looking for.  Everything i've looked for up to this point was either to big or to small but this one was just right...I promise, this will not turn into a Goldie locks and the three bears kinda story. 

The yellow VW was packed in a box and headed home.  Now, I'm sure everyone is aware of someone who has named their vehicle before.  It's a connection thing, you talk to it without even knowing your talking to it, as if the car is your best buddy just listening to all your thoughts and concerns.  I was stuck with finding a name for this little guy.  I pondered a few names but nothing seem to fit until, I said "Vdub Willie", Vdub Willie, yup, his name is Vdub Willie.

It's been almost a year since I found this little guy and I have to say its been fun getting some shots of this little VW model in unique places.  I never leave home without him.  I'm not obsessed with him or anything, I just take him everywhere I go because, if there's something I see that I think will be a good shot, than i'll shoot it with him in there.  

 

VDub_Willie at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.

VDub_Willie at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.

There are some plans to travel around the Country in the next year or so looking for some other unique places to get shots with this little guy.  When i'm out talking photos with him, many people take a double look.  Here I am at times laying on the ground and this model car set up for its own portrait.  

So, if you are around the Halifax area, be sure to keep an eye out for Willie.  You never know where he may end up at. 

 

If you're an instagram user be sure to check out VDub_Willie's Instagram page.

 

VDub_Willie, Halifax, Nova Scotia

VDub_Willie, Halifax, Nova Scotia

VDub_Willie, Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia

VDub_Willie, Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia

VDub_Willie, Crystal Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia

VDub_Willie, Crystal Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia

Stir crazy

So it's been a few days since i've been able to get out and shoot.  We all know that feeling,  I want to but couldn't be bothered or, just not feeling in the mood.  Well after two days of not leaving the house and knowing that I have the time to go out and shoot, today I had had enough I was going out!

Of course the challenge was, where do I go and what do I shoot....I even reached out to a friend and asked for him to tag along.  Shooting alone a night my not be the wises decision...make smart ones people.  I finally decided to shoot some long exposure of vehicles, but Halifax don't have ideal spots for such photos...I mean, there are places but they've been over shot so much that you're basically getting the same photo as someone else....and who wants that!

Fuji X-T2, f/16 18-55mm, 21 sec exposure, ISO 200

Fuji X-T2, f/16 18-55mm, 21 sec exposure, ISO 200

Our first stop really didn't pan out to be the best choice of locations.  Plus, the traffic flow sucked!  There was either a vast amount of vehicles on one side or the other but never at the same time and for long exposure shots you want a nice balance of light going in both directions. We packed up and headed to the second location that I have pondered over before.  The funny part of thinking about locations before actually visiting them is that you go through a thinking process of, what is the light like, is there easy access to the exact location and will there be a good composition and much more.

Upon arriving at the location there was instantly a good flow of traffic in both directions,  this still requires some timing and skill for these types of shots because vehicles can be scattered throughout the lanes and can case a break in the lights in your final image, so you want those nice long streaks.  To get this effect, I place my camera in bulb mode and set my aperture and ISO.  Just how long i'll shoot for is usually calculated based on my settings...this is where the advance photography comes in or years of shooting and knowing exactly what my settings will give me.

Here's something you have to know before you read any further.  There are multiple and I mean multiple shots taken to get the right one.  Very rare will you get the perfect shot the first time you click the shutter.  Mind you, there are times when this does occur, but again very rare.  I finally snapped enough photos where I felt that I captured something I was happy with.  I get back to my truck, crank the heat and and head home to find out that we're expecting 40-60cm of snow over the next 2 days......Stir crazy round two? I hope not. 

Rob,

 

The switch

First off, I am not a writer or an author so mistakes will happen as I write this blog.  WOW! I never thought I would actually start a blog.  The first is called "the switch"  for years I was a Canon user.  Started out with a 60D where I learned the basics and eventually moved up to a full frame 6D.  I Loved that camera, still do to be honest.  But, the switch was about to happen before I knew it would.  You see, there are many camera companies out there competing for our service.  They all tailor their camera to what people want and need.  DSLR's, point-N-shoot  and even mini video cameras. I was under the belief that canon was going to be my choice of camera that I would use for a very long time, until I met a local photographer who changed my way of thinking about photography.

Ted Pritchard,  a local photographer here in Halifax, NS.  Ted and I were both shooting an event in the downtown area and I saw him carrying a small camera around his neck but using a big O'l Nikon.  Of course my initial thought was, why the small camera?  I was intrigued and wanted a closer look.  I simply approached Ted and asked him what he was carrying for a second camera.  "Oh man, a Fuji X-T10" he said.  It was like a foreign language to me...he took it off his neck and handed it to me as if I knew him for years.  It wasn't love at fist sight, but took only a matter of minutes before I wanted more of it.  I had a limited amount of time to play with it but was able to talk camera stuff with him for a short time.  He explained how easy it was to use and the quality in the photos. I believe his choice of words at that time was " A game changer". 

I went home feeling somewhat confused.  I mean, I loved my camera and what it could do, yet some guy I just met is telling me this crop sensor camera is "a game changer" LOL surely he was out of his mind.  After much consideration I purchased the same camera and decided I would give this "game changer" a try.  I mean what did  I have to loose?  I still have my Canon. 

Fuji X-T10, f/9 18-55mm, 9 shot pano

Fuji X-T10, f/9 18-55mm, 9 shot pano

Fast forward to Feb 2016 I traveled to Newfoundland for a month.  At this point I have had the camera for about 4 months and I never really put it to the test.  I told myself that I would give the Fuji a fair try and shoot with it for the month.  It was an early Saturday morning in St. John's, NL and I headed out to Quidi Vidi for a sunrise photo.  I knew exactly what I was going for but wasn't sure if the camera was going to pull it off.  I mean, I was so attached to my Canon 6D and new what it could do, that I almost didn't want the Fuji to succeed.   So i set up my composition and was ready for the ball of fire to rise up over the Atlantic Ocean.   Sun's up, and I'm shooing.  9 shot Panorama, in 3 shot exposures.  I return home do some editing and..........WOW!  I kept looking at the photo saying. No! Really?  I eventually went on to sell the Fuji X-T10 and upgraded to my current camera the Fuji X-T2.  

It was this photo that caused "The Switch" from Canon to Fuji.   So glad I met you Ted!

 

Rob